Bahler Brothers Blog

A Side-by-side Comparison of Stamped Concrete and Pavers

Posted by Jen Kloter on Mon, Nov 21, 2011 @ 08:57 AM

This article will give you a side by side comparison of stamped concrete and interlocking concrete pavers. We'll let you decide which is better for your patio, pool patio or walkway.

Stamped Concrete

sample of stamped concrete walkwayAdvantages:

  • A wide variety of patterns and colors are available.
  • Can imitate natural stone or segmented paving.
  • Colors can be hand blended on site in addition to the color that's added to the concrete mix.
  • A sealer is usually added to protect the concrete from the elements and pool chemicals.

Disadvantages:

  • Initial cost is somewhat high. Cost of repairs and ongoing maintenance can get very expensive.
  • Difficult for a DIYer to install, and it may require a professional installer.
  • There are some in our industry that say there are only 2 kinds of concrete... "Cracked and Gonna Crack," especially in Connecticut where we have a lot of freezing and thawing.
  • Control joints and saw cuts are necessary to help control where the concrete cracks. They are sometimes made across the stamped pattern lines.
  • There is the possibility for deterioration from de-icing salts.
  • Repairs require patching - color matching of the new concrete to the old is almost impossible.
  • The sealer needs to be reapplied every 2-3 years.
  • Colors may fade over time.

Interlocking Concrete Pavers

paver installation with accents and bandingAdvantages:

  • They won't crack - when installed correctly.
  • Pavers cost about the same as stamped concrete - depending on the application.
  • The cost effeciency over time is very low. They do not need to be replaced.
  • Repairs are easy and seamless.
  • Paver patterns and colors can be mixed and matched to create striking designs with accent borders and bandings. 

Disadvantages:

  • Joint sand needs to be "topped off" every couple of years unless a polymer sand is used. Polymer sand is a sand that has a polymeric additive in it that binds and hardens the sand grains to each other and the pavers too.
  • Weeds can grow between the pavers unless a polymer sand is used. When the polymer hardens, weeds cannot grow in it.
  • Dye lots can vary from pallet to pallet - so if care is not taken when installing, a large area can appear blotchy. A skilled installer will know how to blend the pavers to eliminate this issue.
  • Pavers can settle and move over time if they are not installed properly. Here in Connecticut, we have to ensure that everything - the existing soil, the base material we bring in, the pavers after they're installed... - is compacted properly or the pavers will heave unevenly with the frost.

As you can see, there are pros and cons to both stamped concrete and interlocking concrete pavers. In the 26 years that Bahler Brothers has been in business, we have found that New England just isn't kind to stamped concrete. Many of the people we've given prices to for patios and pool patios, but who have not gone with pavers, come back to us after a year or 2 with regrets because the stamped concrete they had installed has cracked and doesn't look good.

Topics: Paver Installation, Paver Comparison, Paver Cost

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